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Police Week 2020: Ramstein honors fallen law enforcement

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Though coronavirus disease 2019 is hindering activities that once drew huge crowds, COVID-19 will not stop a nation from honoring and remembering law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

On Oct. 1, 1962, former President John F. Kennedy signed a bill into law designating May 15 as a day to honor peace officers. Twenty years later, an annual memorial service began in Washington D.C., at Senate Park, and the week encompassing Peace Officers Memorial Day has since been referred to as Police Week.

“Police Week is a humbling week,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Bonham, 86th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant. “We remember our Defenders and why we do the job.”

The Monday of Police Week has historically started with a prayer breakfast and a small commencement ceremony, followed by a week full of events. Traditionally there are law enforcement-centric competitions that bring the different law enforcement agencies together in both a humbling and exciting way.

“It’s really exciting and a humbling event to be a part of,” Bonham said. “It’s awesome because it gets all the law enforcement agencies in the area together to celebrate National Police Week and remember everything that’s going on with law enforcement.”

Due to restrictions on social gatherings, ceremonies and events are scheduled to be aired or held virtually this year. The 569th, 435th and 86th SFS’s together created the Ramstein Police Week Virtual 5k Facebook group to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the line of duty. Anyone who wants to participate in the virtual run can join the group.

Though the final guard mount will not be a public event, each unit still performing guard mount will take the time to honor those U.S. Air Force law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty since 9/11.

Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, 21, Sept. 28, 2005, Camp Bucca, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, 28, Jan. 22, 2006, Taji, Iraq

Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton, 32, Jan. 22, 2006, Taji, Iraq

Airman 1st Class Leebernard E. Chavis, 21, Oct. 14, 2006, Baghdad, Iraq

Staff Sgt. John T. Self, 29, May 14, 2007, Baghdad, Iraq

Airman 1st Class Jason D. Nathan, 22, June 23, 2007, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin, 28, April 3, 2008, Baghdad, Iraq

1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton, 24, Sept. 8, 2009, Baghdad, Iraq

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, March 2, 2011, Frankfurt, Germany

Staff Sgt. Todd “TJ” Lobraico, 22, Sept. 5, 2013, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, Oct. 2, 2015, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan

Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, Oct. 2, 2015, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan

Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, Dec. 21, 2015, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, Dec. 21, 2015, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan